Good running posture

We are very excited to have Glenn Withers the founder of APPI (The Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute) share with us his four simple steps to perfect running posture. 

Glenn is not only one of the worlds most sought after Physiotherapists and Pilates Master Trainers, having worked with elite sport teams such as Tottenham Hostspur, Man U & Brentford FC for over 17 years but he is also a published author, international speaker and co-creator of the APPI Method. We are kind of amazed that Glenn still finds time to regularly train and compete in triathlons.

We cannot think of anyone better to help educate us on how to master the ideal running form. Over to you Glenn...  

Exercises to improve your running posture

The posture of running has been debated over the years in the search for the most efficient way of propelling oneself forward with the greatest efficiency. In many ways the running posture may be defined by the foot posture. The debate of the growth in forefoot running has lead this analysis, yet this same progress to forefoot running has seen a significant increase in injury related to the forefoot running posture. So what is the optimal posture a runner should aim to attain.

Let’s look at the facts:

  • At least 75% of distance runners land on their heel (Hasewaga et al, 2007) 
  • At the 10-km point of a half marathon and marathon road race (Larsen et al, 2011)
    • 9% of runners are rear-foot,
    • 4% as mid-foot
    • 8% as forefoot strikers
  • Injuries occurred 2.5 times more frequently in RFS (Kasmer et al, 2016,  Daoud et al, 2012)
    • Hip, knee, low back pain, tibial stress injuries, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures (excluding metatarsal bones)                                               

The above statistics indicate that while the majority of us are running as rear foot strikers, this is leading to an increased rate of injury. Therefore, moving to a forefoot running pattern would be a better option. However, the transition from rear foot to forefoot brings with it a significant risk of injury if this process is not trained and the development of an increased risk of Achilles injury is a real threat. Therefore, it is suggested that perhaps a mid -foot strike is an optimal goal for non-professional runners.

So what should we aim for to attain this running posture? 

  • Run tall – Think of your head as a helium balloon floating to the sky and keeping your head high and tall. How to attain - Exercises to work on standing running posture.
  • Pelvis is king – Keep the pelvis even and slightly forward in a running lean to maintain momentum and aim to land on the md foot, not the heel. How to attain - good gluteal muscles.
  • Elbow drive – Keep a good elbow drive to keep a good leg cadence which will lead to a greater tendency to land mid foot.
  • Calf strength – How to attain - Do 30 calf rises per day to maintain healthy form and support the move to mid-foot.
Here are three essential exercises for healthy running posture:

The Foot series: Complete this for 1 minute continuously for greater calf strength.

 Foot series 1foot series 2foot series 3foot series 4

Running man in standing: Complete this exercise continuously for 1 minute on each side for good posture control

 running manrunning man 2running man 3

Standing Clam: Complete 1 minute on each side for good pelvic control and gluteal strength.

 standing clamstanding clam 2


This article is by APPI Founder Glenn Withers
B.Physiotherapy, MAPA, MCSP, MAPPI.
Certified Pilates Instructor and worldwide master trainer, APPI.  

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